Last month, Tennessee hosted a four-star Georgia commit in the 2019 class on an official visit. And according to a recent interview, Tennessee is still very much on that recruit’s mind.
Trezmen Marshall is a four-star athlete who’s been committed to Georgia since late April of this year. Despite his commitment, he’s had a busy summer full of visits to other schools. Not only has he been to Knoxville, but he’s visited Florida State and Auburn several times and has also been down to Alabama. And he’ll get a chance to see the Vols in action later this year when he visits Georgia as they host Tennessee on September 29th.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Marshall is the No. 97 overall player in the country and the sixth-ranked athlete in the 2019 class. He plays for Clinch County High School in Homerville, Georgia, and he’s still checking out a handful of schools to make sure he’s making the right decision about his college career.
In an interview with Jeff Sentell of Dawg Nation, Marshall said the Vols are currently his No. 3 school behind the Bulldogs and Auburn. Florida State and Tennessee are about neck-and-neck for that third spot, and both schools are in a similar spot according to Marshall.
“I need to see if all those guys really want it,” Marshall told Sentell of both the Vols and Seminoles. “Even when they are not winning big yet.”
That should be good news for Tennessee, because the Vols aren’t in a spot to win anything big this year. But Marshall says their attitude and how they approach the season and each game is still important even if they’re not supposed to be very good.
“A team can (stink) and still be hungry,” Marshall added. “I need to make sure I’m going to play for a team that is hungry. Because I’ll be hungry to win in college. They have to care about the way they play the game.”
Tennessee was recently picked to finish second-to-last in the SEC East at SEC Media Days, and they’re coming off the worst season in program history. But Marshall really likes UT’s coaches and the attitude they bring to the table. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt, defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer, and safeties coach/special teams coordinator Charles Kelly all recruited Marshall when they were at other schools last year. And now all three are recruiting Marshall hard to the Vols.
But will UT’s coaches be enough to flip Marshall even though the Vols’ roster isn’t in a spot to win a title in the near future?
“I like the whole coaching staff better than any other coaching staff,” Marshall said of the Vols, “but I don’t feel comfortable with the players there. I don’t feel like they are ready to win a championship. I don’t think they are on the level they need to be to win a championship yet.”
Winning a title is important to Marshall, and that’s one reason why he committed to Georgia and is still interested in Alabama. But he doesn’t want to be gifted anything, and he values competition in a big way. That’s been a message that Pruitt and his staff have been preaching to other recruits, forgoing promises of playing time for promises of competition.
And that’s a message that Marshall likes to hear.
“I want to hear a coach tell me competition will matter,” he said. “The best players will play. I don’t want a single thing handed to me about my spot. That’s how I feel about Georgia. You can go there and the best players will play. Period. When they recruit me, they will then try to find a better linebacker.
“I have to put in all my work to keep that position.”
Marshall is an athletic freak. He plays a variety of positions for Clinch County High School, but he likely will play inside linebacker in college. The 6-foot-1, 235 pound athlete is tenacious and relentless on defense, ripping through blocks to take down quarterbacks and running backs alike. He has solid pursuit and can cover players in the flat effectively. He’s ferocious on offense and doesn’t shy away from contact one bit. His intensity is the biggest thing that stands out about him, and he doesn’t let up on any play.
Chances are slim that Pruitt and his staff can convince Marshall that Knoxville should be his collegiate home, but the fact he’s still interested in the Vols even after committing to Georgia is good news for UT. If they can manage to surprise a few teams in 2018 and prove the roster is in better shape than Marshall thinks, then look out.